5 Tips to improve your PowerPoint Presentations

Making presentations changed completely When PowerPoint, a software product developed by Microsoft, was released in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. All of a sudden dull office meetings were interesting again. PowerPoint is now a common software application in most businesses and most people have it installed on their PC. Although it’s still a great presentation tool, one needs to use it wisely in order to make a powerful and memorable presentation. Here’s 5 tips on how to do this:

Tip #1  Use PowerPoint slides as supporting material, not your entire presentation.  For example, if you’re giving a talk you can highlight important statistics or data on a PowerPoint slide. This makes it easier for you because you don’t have to memorize the data and it makes it easier for your audience to see.  And if you present the data in a nice chart or graph your audience can quickly ascertain the importance of the information.

Tip #2  KISS – Keep it simple, silly.  It’s easy to get carried away with all of the features and effects PowerPoint offers users.- words flying onto the screen form all angles and in all different shapes and sizes – However, the most effective graphics are often the easiest on the eyes.  That means using fonts that are easy to read whether you’re sitting in the front of the room or the back, using colors that stand out well in contrast to the other colors on the slide, and making the image large enough that everyone can see it.  Additionally, each slide will want to contain only one or two bits of key information.  You want your audience’s attention on you, not reading the projector screen. It is so easy to get carried away and write your presentation notes on the slide but this will literaly kill your presentation.

Tip #3  When giving your PowerPoint presentation, use the slides as part of your speech rather than reading them.  When you get to the point in your presentation, where the slides are relevant, turn your audience’s attention to the graphic and continue talking. 

Tip #4  Go outside of the box.  PowerPoint does offer some wonderful graphics and images however, you’re not limited to them.  Feel free to pull relevant images from appropriate sources online or scan them from print materials and include them into your presentation.

Tip #5  Make handouts of your PowerPoint slide available to your audience.  Because many of your key points will be integrated into your slides, you may want to give your audience access to them.  There are differing opinions on whether to hand them out before the presentation or afterwards, the complications being you’ll have to listen to shuffling papers during your presentation and you may not have your audience’s full attention versus your audience missing the information on a slide and falling behind in the presentation. 

The essential thing to remember when delivering a PowerPoint presentation is to use PowerPoint slides as an aid to your presentation and not the foundation of the talk.  The idea is to keep the attention on you and to use a slide to demonstrate important data or information without breaking the flow of your presentation, distracting your audience.  When used correctly PowerPoint really amplifies the effectiveness of a speech and gives your audience the information they need.

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